We’re inside a lot right now. It’s winter during a pandemic. Hurrah. The few places that are open rarely have indoor seating so, unless you’re willing to brave the weather, our new normal is staying inside. We hang out in our houses, alternating who gets to sit closest to the WiFi box.
It’s not all bad, though. We’re still socializing with the people we care about, even if they aren’t around us as much as they used to be. We FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, iMessage, Snapchat, DM, PM, you name it. The digital options to keep up with our friends are at an all-time high right now. But, as we throw ourselves into these online personas, are we forgetting what real people are like?
These days, if you want to get to know someone, the first thing you might do is stalk their Instagram (no shame here, girl). Maybe your Zoom crush finally followed you back, so you scroll through his feed, debating whether or not it’s worth shooting your shot.
Maybe your best friend is on facetime with you and she’s begging for a screenshot, but the only picture you can find is one of him holding a fish in highschool. Now, all he is to you is the guy you thought was cute but didn’t have any good pictures on his Instagram feed.
Our social media accounts have grown to define us now more than ever before. Gone are the days of making friends in crowded classrooms and loud cafeterias. We get to know each other through the photos that we post on our Instagram. Through the videos we upload to Snapchat. Got a haircut? All you have to do is change your bitmoji hair style.
Our lives have become defined by the things we post. I have friends who are nervous to click share. Worried that one of their followers will judge them or that it won’t match their feed. They throw their phone across the room after posting because they know that they could easily sit there and count each like as if their life depends on it.
We grew up right alongside social media. I’m sure each of us could reminisce about the old Instagram and Snapchat. Think: it’s 2016, Harambe is the meme and you just caught a Snorlax in Pokemon Go. Life is good. But as social media has aged, it grew to become something like a filter of real life. We went from taking “insta-worthy” photos to wanting to become “insta-worthy” people 24/7.
I remember the first time that I saw an Instagram ad for losing belly fat. I think I was 12. That was also the first time that I learned what a woman’s body is “supposed” to look like. As women, we constantly see ads like this, and now that life is basically all online, it’s easy to feel like you’re not perfect enough.
But no matter how many pairs of anti-cellulite leggings or doses of FitTea that social media convinces you to buy, that materialistic BS will do nothing more than drag down your inner queen. We’re bogged down by this isolating day to day, and when we look to socialize online, all we see is picture after picture of perfect bodies and perfect smiles.
Sometimes, that makes it hard to remember that you’re not the only one struggling. Even though every time you open up Instagram and you see your friends smiling from a flattering angle, that doesn’t mean that they’re living a perfect, “insta-worthy” life. You aren’t alone in sometimes feeling like you’re not enough.
Don’t let the filter that social media places over our lives control the way that you live and love. Remember to turn the filter off every now and then to appreciate how beautiful reality is, imperfections and all.